Things to do in Chicago

Chicago Restaurants

Legend holds that aromas waft through Chicago, beckoning passersby indoors to draped tables for meals with never-before-seen flavor combinations.

The Windy City’s food scene is fit to contend with any other for the title. While looking for things to do in Chicago, find spots worthy of your taste buds with 34 restaurants in town.

Fine Dining and Tasting Menu Experiences

1. Ever

  • Address: 1340 W Fulton Street, Chicago, IL 60607
  • Price: $$$$
  • Must-Try: Chef Curtis Duffy's latest surprise experience

You never know exactly what you're in for at Ever, and that's part of the fun. One of the brightest Michelin-star restaurants in Chicago, Ever's menu is constantly evolving to accommodate executive Chef Duffy's latest creative — and completely delicious — concoctions.

Duffy coaxes out the best of ingredients both mundane and exotic, ribboning peppered butter into a satiny centerpiece and framing Wagyu beef with crisp tatsoi for dishes that will awaken unknown flavor receptors in your taste buds.

2. Alinea

  • Address: 1723 N Halsted Street, Chicago, IL 60614
  • Price: $$$$
  • Must-Try: Painted dessert table

Alinea head chef Grant Achatz took the culinary world by storm with an interactive dining experience driven by molecular gastronomy. Flavor is just one part of the food here, where lemon caviar crepes and maple bourbon arctic char have graced the menu.

At Alinea, you'll dine inside a silent chef's kitchen as your food is painted onto your table into a culinary masterpiece.

3. Smyth and The Loyalist

  • Address: 177 N Ada Street, #101, Chicago, IL 60607
  • Price: $$$$
  • Must-Try: The 12-course seasonal menu

This restaurant offers a casual environment with the depth of flavor you'd expect from any fine dining experience. But don’t worry — it’s still a perfect spot for special occasions.

At Smyth, seemingly simple dishes pack a hard punch, such as the oyster-apple granita and candied egg yolk in meringue. For a more laid-back evening, visit the Loyalist downstairs for house cocktails and snacks.

Photographer: fornstudio

4. Eden

  • Address: 2734 W Roscoe Street, Chicago, IL 60618
  • Price: $$
  • Must-Try: Seasonal entrees with a side of house-made bread

Freshness is king at Eden . An on-site greenhouse and local farmers supply the kitchen with ingredients to craft its dynamic seasonal dishes. Tuck into wood-grilled steaks, handcrafted pasta, and salad pulled from the ground just hours ago.

After the meal, finish with blissful desserts, such as glazed apples tucked into puff pastry and topped with freshly churned ice cream. So good, you'll think this really is paradise.

5. Oriole

  • Address: 661 W Walnut Street, Chicago, IL 60661
  • Price: $$$$
  • Must-Try: Chef Noah Sandoval's tasting menu

This high-end New American restaurant earned itself two Michelin stars for its flavor-packed fare. Each seat at Oriole offers an intimate glimpse into a completely open kitchen. You can watch each course come together with care before it touches your table.

Oriole's menu features beloved ingredients with a twist, such as tapioca langoustine and hiramasa in apple broth.

Upscale Diners

6. Au Cheval

  • Address: 800 W Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60607
  • Price: $$
  • Must-Try: Specialty burger (topped with a fried egg)

A classic American diner, but make it high-end — that's the premise behind Au Cheval, where the ingredients range from fried bologna to foie gras. Like any good diner, Au Cheval's burger game is on point, but the honey-fried chicken and roasted bone marrow toast are also worth a mention. For dessert, crack into a towering mille-feuille or sip on a bubbling root beer float.

7. The Duck Inn

  • Address: 2701 S Eleanor Street, Chicago, IL 60608
  • Price: $$$
  • Must-Try: Rotisserie duck

Don't let the retro appearance deceive you: The Duck Inn is a contemporary masterpiece. This upscale diner specializes in —you guessed it — ; duck, whether it's slow-roasted whole, crisped, and tossed with BBQ sauce or transformed into duck fat French fries.

Paying homage to its Windy City roots, the menu also features a Chicago-style hot dog, served up with the house "super condiment."

New American

8. Dusek's Tavern

  • Address: 1227 W 18th Street, Chicago, IL 60608
  • Price: $$
  • Must-Try: Crispy wings and the Punch House fish sandwich

Dusek's Tavern specializes in comfort food with a twist. Crispy-crunchy fish and chips, smash burgers, and harissa-spiced mussels all have their place on the menu. Yet, classic favorites are spruced and seasoned until they shine.

Decadent desserts end the meal on a sweet note — choose from favorites such as a rich chocolate cake or ice-cream-topped baked Alaska. To get a taste of it all, the wood-fired tasting menu is a true journey into flavor.

9. Daisies

  • Address: 2375 N Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647
  • Price: $$
  • Must-Try: Black truffle ravioli

The beauty is in the details at Daisies, where each delicate morsel holds a tasty extravaganza within. Handcrafted pasta dots the menu, combined with flavor blends, such as beets and smoked trout roe.

Starters are a must here — the onion dip with house-made ruffles is beloved across the Windy City. Plus, an attached bakery means you can walk away with a box of just-baked croissants.

10. Elske

  • Address: 1350 W Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60607
  • Price: $$$$
  • Must-Try: Swordfish with parsnip and pear

With a name borrowed from the Danish word for "to love," it's no wonder that a meal at Elske is as comforting as any home-cooked feast. Dishes here are based in simplicity but feature hard-hitting flavors of the best restaurants in Chicago.

Hearty dishes, such as grilled lamb loin with dried fruit and fennel, are wholly satisfying, especially when followed by fragrant desserts, such as the lemon verbena tapioca. Fresh house cocktails complete the meal with complementing notes of chamomile and rhubarb. Just what you'd expect from a Michelin-starred eatery.

Photographer: NatashaPhoto

11. Lula Cafe

  • Address: 2537 N Kedzie Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60647
  • Price: $$
  • Must-Try: Classic breakfast burrito

The bright and sunny Lula Cafe is beloved in the Windy City for its delectable brunch service, and it's easy to see why. Fluffy buttermilk pancakes and egg scrambles are served up with plenty of flavor. So are newfound favorites such as the mortadella and gruyere hand pie. Fresh ingredients are a given, as are fabulous cocktails and house-blend coffee.

Mexican

12. Birrieria Zaragoza

  • Address: 4852 S Pulaski Road, Chicago, IL 60632
  • Price: $$
  • Must-Try: Taco de birria

Birria may be a recent subject of viral foodie trends, but Birrieria Zaragoza has been serving up the dish (and other Mexican food) for over 15 years. Whether you take it on a plate or as a taco, birria is a spicy-savory journey through tender mountains of slow-braised goat meat. Order by portion or take it home by the pound to make the enchantment last.

13. Taqueria Chingón

  • Address: 2234 N Western Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647
  • Price: $
  • Must-Try: Tacos, naturally

Taqueria Chingón is, by many accounts, one of the best places for Mexican cuisine in Chicago. Complete with handmade tortillas, tender meat, and fresh salsa, each taco is a perfectly portioned parcel of lush flavor.

Combinations such as duck carnitas with date puree and mahi-mahi with Dijonaise are ripe for relishing, while the raclette quesadilla is a walk through a cheesy wonderland.

14. Mi Tocaya Antojería

  • Address: 2800 W Logan Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60647
  • Price: $$
  • Must-Try: Costra taco con nopalitos

At Mi Tocaya Antojería, Chef Diana Davila aims to distill the sunny memories of her childhood travels across Mexico into tasteful dishes that tell a story. Carefully crafted elements form a culinary trip that will build memories of your own with each savory bite.

Choose from revamped classics, such as chile ash guacamole and a chela-marinated steak burrito, then finish with a stunning flan de queso.

Sandwich Shops

15. Hermosa

  • Address: 4356 W Armitage Avenue, Chicago, IL 60639
  • Price: $
  • Must-Try: Cambodian fried chicken sandwich

Can you sandwich it? Find out at Hermosa, home to an astonishingly delicious array of sandwiches packed with Asian flavors. Fried chicken, pork chops, and peppered beef are topped with pickled papaya, cucumbers, and shaved cabbage for a simple but mind-blowing meal.

16. J.P. Graziano Grocery

  • Address: 901 W Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60607
  • Price: $
  • Must-Try: Mr. G sandwich

Stop in for some groceries at J.P. Graziano Grocery, and grab an irresistible sandwich while you're at it. This decades-old shop has perfected the Italian sub, served up to hungry customers with their choice of toppings.

Sample the hot soppressata or the savory muffuletta — or go vegetarian with marinated Roman-style artichokes, all drizzled with red wine vinegar and sprinkled with oregano.

Photographer: Aleksandar Malivuk

17. Johnnie's Beef

  • Address: 7500 W North Avenue, Elmwood Park, IL 60707
  • Price: $
  • Must-Try: Italian beef sub

A steaming, hot Italian sub is a balm for chilly Windy City weather, and Johnnie's Beef does subs like no other. Since 1961, Johnnie's has shined in its simplicity, stuffing soft, toasty bread with juicy beef and soft peppers. It just doesn't get any better than that — unless you complete your meal with a tart, lemon Italian ice.

Steakhouses

18. El Che Steakhouse & Bar

  • Address: 845 W Washington Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60607
  • Price: $$$
  • Must-Try: The Party Steak

Nothing compares to the earthy, savory smell of a thick steak searing over a charcoal grill. This scent is permanently ingrained in the walls of El Che Steakhouse & Bar. Carnivores rejoice here, where Chef John Manion draws on his childhood in South America to enhance each steak with robust flavors, such as charred lemon smoked salt and salsa criolla.

This restaurant doubles as a hotspot for wine lovers, with a list exclusively featuring South American wines.

Diverse Cuisine

19. Demera

  • Address: 4801 N Broadway, Chicago, IL 60640
  • Price: $$
  • Must-Try: Demera messob

Demera is the place to go for family-style meals that pack a powerful punch. Here, you'll get to know the rich culture and culinary delights of Ethiopia through vibrant dishes with bold spices and vegetables.

Sample a full range of flavors with the Chef's Selection Messob and a side of Ambasha, the house-baked bread. Sip on an Ethiopian hot toddy as you munch on a meal that truly transports.

20. Evette's

  • Address: 350 W Armitage Avenue, Chicago, IL 60614
  • Price: $$
  • Must-Try: Lebanese pita wraps

While Evette's atmosphere calls to mind greenhouses and bouquets, intense flavor reigns supreme. A constellation of tacos, wraps, and shawarma dot the menu, bursting with juicy chicken, crispy halloumi, and creamy tahini dressing for a heavily spiced mouthful with every bite.

21. Galit

  • Address: 2429 N Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL 60614
  • Price: $$$
  • Must-Try: Bubbe's Brisket

Embark on a four-course Middle Eastern adventure at Lincoln Park’s Galit, home to shareable plates and hip handcrafted cocktails. You and your crew craft a scrumptious platter of hummus, mezze, and coal-cooked dishes, such as savory pastrami and Sungold striped bass.

Awarded a Michelin star in 2022, Galit is a creative culinary journey that will have you entranced every step of the way.

22. Parachute

  • Address: 3500 N Elston Avenue, Chicago, IL 60618
  • Price: $$$
  • Must-Try: Pork bossam

This funky-chic restaurant is a balance of flavor, serving up fresh Korean-American cuisine. Parachute's menu features Korean favorites with unique twists, such as the 30-day dry-aged bulgogi, beef brisket soup with egg crepes, and haemul pajeon with onion chili sauce.

Sip from the extensive drinks list as you eat, and finish with patbingsu, a hibiscus berry tea shaved ice dessert.

23. Kasama

  • Address: 1001 N Winchester Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622
  • Price: $$
  • Must-Try: Chicken Adobo

Located in West Town, this Filipino restaurant is the well-loved child of two Chicago-based Filipino chefs, charitably spreading brilliant flavor across the Windy City. Kasama's daytime menu is flecked with Filipino favorites, such as lumpia and pork belly adobo, and augmented by stunning pastries, such as brown butter rice crispy treats and citrus poppy seed pound cake.

24. Rose Mary

  • Address: 932 W Fulton Street, Chicago, IL 60607
  • Price: $$$
  • Must-Try: Pork ribs pampanella

This restaurant in downtown Chicago specializes in Italian-Croatian fusion — and proves it's a match made in heaven. Rose Mary's industrial-chic atmosphere gives way to a menu full of classic delights, each with its own modern twist. Try duck with brown butter apples, veal breast risotto, and chocolate and honey madarica cake for a well-rounded fusion journey.

25. Valhalla

  • Address: Time Out Market: 2nd Floor, 916 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607
  • Price: $$$$
  • Must-Try: Queen crab arroz caldo

The sleek, low-lit ambiance of Valhalla is the perfect backdrop for dishes that gleam and sparkle with freshness. You'll take a journey through the world of Norse flavors with dishes such as citrus-cured king salmon, Rohan duck confit, and black marble pavlova. Opt for the tasting menu to avoid missing out on any life-changing flavors.

26. Obélix

  • Address: 700 N Sedgwick Street, Chicago, IL 60654
  • Price: $$$
  • Must-Try: Macaron au foie gras

Obelix is a French bistro reimagined, serving up traditional dishes like French onion soup with a modern, inspired twist.

Here, fruits of the land, sky, and sea abound, with an array of duck and fish plates studded with locally sourced produce. Indulge in a 10-day dry-aged duck breast with sunflower miso, and snack on hot raclette gougeres to start a phenomenal meal off right.

27. Giant

  • Address: 3209 W Armitage Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647
  • Price: $$$
  • Must-Try: Bacon Bucatini

Art and culinary innovation combine at Giant, a restaurant whose flavors are as big as its name. Bold dishes, such as pecan-smoked yardbird and red vinegar flank steak, turn simple ingredients into true masterpieces, while velvety pasta makes for a decadent dinner you'll dream about for days.

Just don't skip the veggies — green curry carrots and smoked pepper broccoli are some of Giant's specialties.

Photographer: Studio Romantic

Asian Dining

28. The Omakase Room at Sushi-San

  • Address: 63 W Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL 60654
  • Price: $$$$
  • Must-Try: Chef-crafted course of the day

Dinner isn't a strong enough word to represent the culinary experience you'll get at The Omakase Room. The menu at this 18-course adventure changes nightly based on the daily catch, ensuring your meal is steeped in open water freshness. Complementing ingredients include musk melon, duck eggs, and just-grated wasabi for a full-bodied feast.

29. Kyōten

  • Address: 2507 W Armitage Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647
  • Price: $$$$
  • Must-Try: Chef Otto Phan's seasonal creations

For an intimate eating experience where the ingredients shine. Each element of this 18-course wonderland highlights and enhances the natural beauty of all its parts. From fresh fish to tender sushi rice, this hidden gem in Chicago will leave you both satisfied and completely stuffed.

Chinese

30. Sun Wah BBQ

  • Address: 5039 N Broadway, Chicago, IL 60640
  • Price: $
  • Must-Try: Duck with pickled ginger and pineapple

A Chicago hotspot since 1986, Sun Wah BBQ is the Windy City's best in Hong Kong-style barbecue. Get into sharing at this restaurant, where family style is the name of the game. From pan-fried noodles to fresh seafood, every dish here is packed with flavor that will keep you mmming and aahing all night long.

Italian

31. Monteverde

  • Address: 1020 W Madison Street, Chicago, IL 60607
  • Price: $$$
  • Must-Try: Spaghetti al pomodoro

Sometimes a decadent traditional Italian restaurant's cuisine is just what the doctor ordered. Fill your prescription at Monteverde, the James Beard-recognized eatery offering Italian favorites with an adventurous new twist. Here, you'll dig into smoked fish dip with waffle fries, grilled octopus with candied lemon, and scallop crudo with puffed rice.

32. Osteria Langhe

  • Address: 2824 W Armitage Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647
  • Price: $$$
  • Must-Try: Squash Gnocchi

The Italian fare at Osteria Langhe hails from northwest Piemonte and showcases the region's long love affair with handmade pasta and robust wines. The simple perfection of each dish gives bold ingredients, such as La Tur cheese, creamy polenta, and black cod, room to breathe.

Opt for the four-course Taste of Piemonte experience to sample the best of Osteria Langhe's innovative flavor profiles.

33. Pequod’s Pizza

  • Address: 2207 N Clybourn Avenue, Chicago, IL 60614
  • Price: $$
  • Must-Try: Deep-dish pan pizza

While pizza technically falls under Italian cuisine, the dish has become a culinary phenomenon in its own right. And Pequod's Pizza is serving up some spectacular pies, Chicago deep-dish style.

Fresh toppings, such as earthy mushrooms, tangy giardiniera, and spicy Italian beef, give each pizza its own world of flavor for an ultra-cheesy meal that only comes second to the house-made banana split cheesecake.

34. Spacca Napoli Pizzeria

  • Address: 1769 W Sunnyside Avenue, Chicago, IL 60640
  • Price: $$
  • Must-Try: The Margherita pizza

Prefer your pizza with a thinner crust? Spacca Napoli Pizzeria is the perfect peer for Pequod's, with its crispy Neapolitan-style crust and simple yet stunning flavor combinations.

Perfectly seasoned San Marzano sauce is adorned with fresh toppings, such as mozzarella di bufala, spicy soppressata, and toasted walnuts. Plus, after-dinner sweets, such as tiramisu and peaches Vesuvio, add a saccharine touch to an already-fabulous meal.

Photographer: ZoranOrcik

Polish Off the Evening With a Feast for the Eyes

With all the attention your taste buds get, it's important to ensure your other senses don't get left behind. If you’re looking to finish off your evening with a spectacular drink, check out our list of rooftop bars in Chicago for a spectacular view of the city.

And for a perfect outing, enhance the evening with some visually spectacular entertainment from us. Designed to astonish and provoke your deepest emotions, each of our performances elicits a childlike sense of wonder with a dash of adult-enticing thrills. You'll find yourself enraptured by the ambitious acrobatics, moving storylines, and stunning visuals that form an unforgettable experience.

Ready to feast your eyes on an extraordinary spectacle? Book your tickets to one of our shows in Chicago today.

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